Made In Britain: The Northern Dough Co

What does your company do? What products services does it provide?
The Northern Dough Co Limited was formed in 2011 and produces retail pizza dough products which allow people to make a restaurant quality meal at home, while saving them money and time. The range of products are made with premium, all-natural ingredients from a secret family recipe, born from three generations of baking experience.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
We started the business after having friends over for pizza parties as an alternative to dining out. Guests were invited into their kitchen create their own favourite recipes using dough from Chris’ family bakery and a recipe 10 years in the making.
Our friends and relatives enjoyed making and eating their own pizza so much, we often used to send them away with a bagful of dough to take home. It was only when we looked for an alternative at the supermarket that we saw a gap in the market for a convenient and authentic tasting product.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
We launched in August 2011 at a local food festival to test the response to our range. We invested the little savings we had in brand design and packaging and took enough product to sell 1 box every 2 minutes for the duration of the festival. We sold out in 90 Minutes!

Throughout our journey we’ve had lots of support, but a vital source came from our GrowthAccelerator Coach and food industry entrepreneur Paul James Gorman. He brought structure to our strategic thinking and helped us to concentrate on the things that would make the biggest difference. Because of this, we’re now supporters of the Business is GREAT Campaign. We want to highlight our story to other small and medium sized businesses, and demonstrate what can be achieved with the support that is now available from government.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Being listed in Waitrose and Ocado in 2013 was a very proud moment for us.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Building the business to the point where it warranted automation. Before then we packed orders by hand and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day.

How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
Through our great quality of ingredients, which are all natural. We want to supply products which are great to eat and appeal to a growing number of consumers who are looking for a simple meal solution, while still giving them the experience of cooking and creating their own recipes.

What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
Outsourcing certain parts of the business to free our time up to concentrate on what we’re good at.

Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
We’d like to see our products in more of the major supermarkets.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Have a set of clearly defined goals to achieve your vision. Always remember that anything worth having isn’t easy to obtain.

What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
Receiving thank you emails from our customers with photos of their family all making pizza and sharing an experience with our products.